AT ITS CURRENT QUOTE, Facebook trades at 47 times projected 2012 profit of 48 cents a share and 36 times estimated 2013 earnings of 63 cents. Compare that with Google and Apple, two proven technology growth stories, which both trade for about 16 times estimated 2012 earnings. Facebook is valued at $61 billion, or $53 billion excluding its estimated $8 billion in cash. That's more than 10 times estimated 2012 revenue of $5 billion. Google trades for half that valuation.A wholly unoriginal argument: Investors should not value Facebook ( FB) higher than Apple ( AAPL) and Google ( GOOG). Kudos to the author, Andrew Bary, though, for not making obligatory mention of Amazon.com's ( AMZN) P/E ratio. Barron's goes on to lament Facebook's practice of issuing loads of stock as compensation. The author then almost solely rests his bear case on the tired notion that there's no guarantee Facebook can figure out mobile. And, even if it does, the platform for mobile ads is too small to serve effective advertising. As such, done deal, FB is a $15 stock. Channeling Bob Dylan, "Don't criticize what you don't understand." On these main criticisms -- stock comp and mobile -- Barron's gives us surface scratch reflections with zero vision and no grasp of the here and now. They fail to show even the slightest comprehension of the complex world Facebook lives in as well as the one it's helping create. Yes, Facebook doles out stock to keep employees from moving elsewhere. Barron's pegs the cost at $500,000 per employee, projecting the company's stock-based compensation expense will account for 20 cents per share next year. (I reckon Barron's was fast and easy with the numbers to get that $500,000 figure. Somebody needs to let them in on concepts such as average, median and outlier). And, it's been confirmed. Mark Zuckerberg said it himself. Facebook wasted two years on mobile. We already know this. You're not calling the company out by repeating it as if it's news.
- Sixth in 2012 mobile ad revenue, slightly behind Apple.
- Projected to catapult to second, between Google and Pandora (P) in 2013 and 2014.